Four months is a long time for any training camp. But outside the delays in booking his fight against Francis Ngannou, undefeated heavyweight contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik didn’t really suffer much in his preparation during a global pandemic.
While many fighters have been unable to get to the gym or find training partners because of statewide shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, Rozestruik his coaches and training partners at American Top Team in Florida made his life rather easy.
In reality, the only complaint he could make ahead of his clash with Ngannou on Saturday night is that he’s actually been ready for several weeks. But because of cancellations and postponements, he’s been forced to wait until now to fight.
“The thing about American Top Team, they set up time for us,” Rozenstruik said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “So I can go there at say 10 a.m., train for 45 minutes and then other fighters come. That’s how they schedule for us.
“My training is good. It doesn’t affect my training at all. The thing is I was ready to fight, so we had to slow the pace a little bit. But as soon as we had a date officially, we just squeezed it up and I was ready again. Nothing affected my training.”
Originally slated to compete on March 28, Rozenstruik had to find a way to taper back his training and then ramp things up again when the UFC rescheduled his fight for April 18. He had to do the same thing after that card was also postponed to a new date on May 9.
The delays have been annoying, but Rozenstruik found a way to stay ready without taxing his body too much.
“The only thing that’s frustrating is that I’ve been in training camp now for four months,” Rozenstruik said. “You’re ready, you want to go. But the situation is difficult. The only thing you can do is be patient, know your temper because when you’re already there and the fight is supposed to happen, it gets frustrating.”
The biggest positive to take away from the situation is that Rozenstruik has always kept the same opponent, which made his preparation a little easier. Add to that, Rozenstruik’s showdown with Ngannou should crown the next contender in the heavyweight division, which means his fight was never cancelled, but rather just postponed until a later date.
“The fans really want to see it – the UFC really wants to make this fight happen,” Rozenstruik said. “So I’m happy that it’s still on. The situation is a little bit out of my hands but nobody can do anything about it.
“The only thing you can do is be patient and hope that we all survive this all really fast.”
When he was initially scheduled to face Ngannou, the fight was a main event for five rounds, though neither heavyweight expected to hear the final bell.
Now in a three round fight, Rozenstruik jhas less overall time to fight with Ngannou. But that doesn’t really matter to him. He expects his night to end rather early anyway.
“I’m more than ready,” he said. “Same prediction [as before], nothing changes. It’s still the same fight. We’ll go for the first or the second round to put him away.”